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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Echoes of Fulladu: The hidden power of Maria Part 38

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Maria reached home that night, the familiar scents of roasted yams and spiced fish wafting through the air as she entered the compound. The evening meal was a somber affair, with her husband discussing village matters while the children ate quietly. Ariosvaldo sat across from her, avoiding her gaze. The tension between them was palpable, a silent battle of wills.

After dinner, the family dispersed to their respective corners of the house. The moonlight filtered through the thatched roof, casting long shadows on the ground. Maria waited patiently, her eyes sharp and alert, as the household gradually succumbed to the embrace of sleep. She could hear the steady rhythm of her husband’s breathing, the soft murmurs of the younger children dreaming. But Maria’s mind was far from rest.

She moved with purpose, her steps light and deliberate as she made her way to her private quarters. This room, unlike the rest of the house, was shrouded in mystery. The walls were adorned with talismans and intricate carvings, symbols of her hidden world. She closed the door behind her, locking herself into her sanctuary. The familiar chill of anticipation washed over her.

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Maria approached the small altar at the corner of the room, a sacred space dedicated to her practice. She poured some palm wine into a wooden bowl, its deep red hue catching the flicker of the light emanating from the kerosene lamp. With measured precision, she scooped a palmful of sour milk on a rickety stool nearby, washing her hands with it as she chanted a few inaudible sounds, a language known only to the initiated. The air grew heavy with an otherworldly presence, the veil between realms thinning.

At the tail edge of the tiny room, through a barely visible hole, a serpent slithered into view, its scales glistening in the dim light. Its eyes were a piercing red, and its tongue flicked out, tasting the air. This was no ordinary serpent; it was her familiar, a conduit to the spirit world. The serpent’s eyes locked onto hers, and in that silent communion, a conversation began.

This was Maria’s secret. Despite her outward piety as a Christian, she was the chief priestess in a hidden world of black magic. This world existed parallel to the mundane, a place where humans could fly from post to post without wings, where they could transform into animals to spy, torture, or even kill their enemies. It was a world of power and peril, and Maria wielded its secrets with ruthless precision.

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Her thoughts turned to Ariosvaldo and the Fula girl. The way she had seen them together, the way they moved and spoke—she knew instantly that her eldest son was in love. He was playing along with her expectations, but his heart belonged elsewhere. Maria could not allow this. The mingling of their bloodlines, the defiance of her authority—it was a threat to her control.

She needed to be certain. The serpent’s eyes glowed brighter, its presence filling her with dark energy. She took a deep breath and whispered her desires into the air. She sought clarity, a vision of the truth. The serpent’s tongue flicked out again, and Maria felt a rush of power as her consciousness expanded beyond the physical realm.

Her spirit soared through the night, moving unseen among the sleeping villagers. She passed through walls and rooftops, her ethereal form gliding effortlessly. She found Ariosvaldo’s room, her gaze penetrating the barriers of the material world. There he lay, restless, his dreams troubled. She probed deeper, delving into his subconscious, searching for the Fula girl.

Images flashed before her: Ariosvaldo and Fatou in the fields, their hands entwined, their faces close. She felt their love, a bond strong and pure. It was not just a passing fancy; it was a profound connection, one that threatened to unravel her carefully constructed reality. She saw them laughing, sharing secrets, planning a future together. The depth of their affection was undeniable. And then she saw their unborn baby.

Maria’s rage simmered beneath her calm exterior. This could not be allowed to continue. She withdrew from her son’s dreams, her spirit returning to her body with a jolt. The serpent coiled at her feet, its eyes glowing with shared understanding. She would need to act, and quickly.

Back in her physical form, Maria sat cross-legged on the floor, her mind racing. She considered her options, weighing the potential outcomes. She could curse the girl, make her life a living nightmare, but that might only drive Ariosvaldo to her side out of sympathy. She needed a more subtle approach, one that would sever their bond without exposing her hand.

An idea began to form, a plan as intricate as the web of lies she had spun over the years. She would create a rift between them, a series of misfortunes and misunderstandings that would erode their love from within. It would be a slow process, but one that would ultimately achieve her goal.

She began to gather the necessary components: herbs for confusion, oils for discord, and a lock of Ariosvaldo’s hair for the personal connection. She chanted incantations under her breath, invoking spirits of chaos and deception. The room grew colder, the shadows lengthening as her power built to a crescendo.

With practiced precision, Maria crafted a charm, a small, innocuous object that would carry her maleficence. She would plant it near the Fula girl’s home, where it would subtly influence her thoughts and actions. Fatou would become erratic, unreliable, and prone to fits of jealousy. Ariosvaldo would see her in a new light, his love tarnished by doubt.

Satisfied with her work, Maria wrapped the charm in a piece of cloth and tucked it away. She would plant it tomorrow, under the cover of darkness. For now, she needed rest. The exertion of her rituals had left her drained, and she needed to be at full strength to carry out her plan.

She extinguished the candles, the serpent retreating into the shadows. She closed behind her, the tiny room and walked across to her bedroom. As she lay down on her bed, she felt a sense of grim satisfaction. She had done what needed to be done, what any mother in her position would do. She was protecting her family, her legacy. Ariosvaldo would understand in time. He would see that she was right, that his place was with his own people, not with the outsider.

Sleep came slowly, her mind still racing with possibilities. She dreamed of shadows and whispers, of power and control. In her dreams, she was a queen, her dominion absolute. The world bent to her will, and all was as it should be.

The next morning, Maria rose early, her resolve steeled. She went about her chores with a renewed vigor, her eyes scanning the horizon for any sign of trouble. She greeted the villagers with her usual warmth on her way to tnd to her pigs, her mask firmly in place. No one suspected the turmoil that lay beneath her calm exterior.

The day passed by slowly. Neighbors greeted each other and exchanged pleasantaries. Some close friends came over to seek counsel on matters close to their hearts. As always, she was patient and spoke to them with candor to them. 

She waited until nightfall, when the village was once again asleep. She slipped out of the house unnoticed, the charm clutched in her hand. The moon was a thin crescent, casting a faint glow over the landscape. Disguised in a large veil that covered her entired body, she moved silently, her steps sure and steady.

Fatou’s home was at the edge of the village, a modest dwelling surrounded by fields. Maria approached cautiously, her eyes scanning for any sign of movement. Satisfied that she was alone, she buried the charm near the entrance, muttering a final incantation to activate its power.

She stood up, brushing the dirt from her hands. It was done. The seed of discord had been planted, and now she would wait. It would take time, but she was patient. She had faith in her abilities, in the power of her magic. The Fula girl would fall, and Ariosvaldo would be free from her influence.

As Maria made her way back to her home, she felt a sense of triumph. She had taken control of the situation, as she always did. Her family would remain strong, their bond unbroken. She had faced challenges before and emerged victorious. This was no different.

Back in her quarters, she sat down, her heart still racing with the thrill of her actions. She knew the road ahead would be difficult, but she was prepared. She would watch and wait, ready to intervene if necessary. She would protect her family at all costs.

In the days that followed, Maria kept a close eye on Ariosvaldo and Fatou. She saw the subtle changes in their behavior, the small cracks in their relationship. Fatou became more anxious, her moods swinging wildly. Ariosvaldo grew distant, his trust in her waning. The charm was working, its influence growing stronger with each passing day.

Maria watched with satisfaction as the rift between them widened. She continued her daily routines, her outward demeanor unchanged. The villagers still sought her counsel, her reputation untarnished. No one suspected the darkness that lay beneath her surface.

As the days turned into weeks, the strain on Ariosvaldo and Fatou’s relationship became unbearable. They argued frequently, their love overshadowed by mistrust and misunderstanding. Ariosvaldo’s heart ached with the loss, but he could not deny the change in Fatou. She was not the girl he had fallen in love with, and he could not understand why.

One evening, as the sun set over the village, Ariosvaldo made a decision. He could no longer stay with Fatou, not when their love had turned into something toxic. He went to see her one last time, his heart heavy with sorrow.

“Fatou, we need to talk,” he said, his voice trembling.

Fatou looked at him, her eyes filled with tears. “What is it, Ariosvaldo?” she asked, her voice breaking.

“I can’t do this anymore,” he said, his heart breaking with each word. “I don’t know what’s happened to us, but we’re not the same. I love you, but I can’t stay.”

To be contd.

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